July 2022
A portrait of Omaha Public Schools superintendent Dr. Cheryl Logan
Dear Omaha Public Schools Community,

This time next month, we will be welcoming our students for the new school year. Our district maintained its momentum throughout the summer, serving more than 13,000 students in Next Level Learning, welcoming new teachers to our district, celebrating the opening of four new schools, expanding access to advanced coursework and much, much more.

We know this summer highlighted staffing needs in Omaha Public Schools and other school districts. Shortages impacted professions from aviation to healthcare. Confronting challenges as one district community, we have worked through the summer to ensure staffing needs are met at each of our schools. For some staff, that included new roles for the 2022-23 school year. We recognize the additional work that is required to make that transition. As we communicated in June, we anticipate more than 200 open positions will remain unfilled as we begin the school year. That means some routines may look different for students and families, from individual schools to our Teacher Administrative Center. What remains constant is our commitment to those we serve: preparing all students for success.

Our Human Resources team continues to hire for all open positions. Our work is essential, and we invite you to join our team. Open positions are always posted at ops.org/careers. We have three support staff interview fairs in the coming weeks:

  • July 30, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Benson High
  • Aug. 11, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Pine Elementary
  • Aug. 22, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Teacher Administrative Center (TAC)

Save the date for our Back to School Bash at Baxter Arena on Saturday, Aug. 13 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Each elementary school will have a booth to visit with students and families. High school clubs and mascots will provide entertainment throughout the day. We are so excited to welcome everyone again.

Just as we have navigated three years of uncharted territory, we will continue to move forward, together.

Cordially yours,

Cheryl Logan, Ed.D.

Save the Date for our Back to School Bash!
Join us Saturday, Aug. 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Baxter Arena!

Each elementary school in our district will have a booth to visit with students and families ahead of the 2022-23 school year. High school students and mascots will provide entertainment throughout the morning. We cannot wait to see the students and families we serve.
Aspiring Educators Qualify for Competition in Nation’s Capital
Aliyah Aljaddou begins her senior year at South High in a few weeks, but she did not take much of a break from the classroom this summer. Instead, she spends her days teaching and learning as a paid student intern at Gomez Heritage Elementary.
"Having one-on-one connections with students and learning more about how to become a teacher instead of going into it blind, you have this opportunity during your summer to do that," said Aljaddou. "It's really fun."
The paid experience during our Next Level Learning summer program is one of several ways Omaha Public Schools invests in the next generation of educators. Aljaddou also participates in Educators Rising.
"You don't have to go into it knowing you want to be a teacher," Aljaddou said about her experience with Educators Rising. "Anyone is welcome. Anyone can be in it. I get to interact more with my own teachers and teachers outside of school and meet new people."
Educators Rising allows students to explore teaching while they are in high school. The goal is for them to return to the classroom after college.

"Anyone interested in working with children in any capacity – whether it's a teacher, a social worker, a nurse or a coach – Educators Rising gives them a glimpse of what it's like," said Samantha Koehler-Overton, South High teacher.

Students from South High, Burke High and Northwest High recently attended the Educators Rising National Conference in Washington, D.C. Students connected with peers from across America and participated in education-based competitions.
A student from Northwest High, Hannah Dalton, placed third at this year’s Educators Rising National Conference in the Exploring Support Services Careers category.
“Seeing them get excited about something that I’m already excited about is priceless,” said Koehler-Overton. “It’s just such a cool experience.”
The national conference is available for the top 10 finishers at the state level. Students learn from other future educators and industry veterans.

“When I was a college student, I didn’t get into a classroom until my senior year. That was our student teaching,” explained Sam Bojanski, a South High teacher who attended the national conference with his students.

“Now, they have all those opportunities to get in the classroom -- even as a high school student -- to see if this is something they want to pursue in college or even beyond that,” he added.

Programs like Educators Rising offer solutions for the future of education at a time when staffing challenges face school districts, like many other industries, nationwide.
"It's going to be the answer, hopefully, in a couple of years," said Bojanski.

In addition to Educators Rising, Omaha Public Schools offers a variety of options to inspire future educators. Opportunities include enhancements to education programing in our College & Career Academies and Pathways, a stipend for student teachers, our paraprofessional to teacher program and more.
Aljaddou says having access to hands-on experiences helped shape her plans. She hopes to return to the classroom as a special education teacher after college.

"The Next Level Learning and all the other things I've learned from Educators Rising are really going to help me," she said. "I think it's really good opportunity."
Summer Program Provides Meals at No Cost to Children and Teens
The lunchroom filled slowly as about a dozen students arrived in the cafeteria at Gifford Park Elementary on a warm July day.
“Hot dogs are my favorite,” one student shouted excitedly as lunch service began. “I like pizza,” another exclaimed.
The summer school menu included a couple of main course options and sides, just like during the regular school year. Lunchtime came with another benefit, too – the availability for all children, ages one to 18, to eat at no cost.
“We’ve had families that have been traveling across Nebraska, going from maybe Iowa to Colorado,” said Tammy Yarmon, Omaha Public Schools executive director of nutrition services. “They will call the hotline and pick up a meal on their way through.”
Breakfast and lunch are available throughout Omaha as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).
“Throughout the United States, not all children have access to meals when school is out,” explained Yarmon. “With the rising price of food, rent and gas, this is a real need for our families more than ever.”
Omaha Public Schools proudly sponsored the SFSP at 25 sites this year in June and July. Each summer, our district provides approximately 300,000 meals at no cost. The federally-funded program reimburses organizations that serve free healthy meals and snacks to children and teens.

“Our job is to provide meals to kids so they can get through the day, so they’re ready to learn, they’re ready to play,” Yarmon said. “We’re here for one reason: our kids.”
Families can view summer food sites on our website or follow one of these steps:
Event Welcomes New Teachers to Omaha Public Schools
Omaha Public Schools welcomed new teachers this summer during a special networking event in June.
“The beginning of every school year is the same feeling – the butterflies in your stomach and just excited for something new,” said Shelly Burghardt, Forest Station Elementary principal. “You’re getting ready to touch kids’ lives and make a difference, and that’s something that not everyone gets the privilege to experience.”
Forest Station Elementary hosted the New Teacher Welcome Center. The event connected teachers with information from district departments and provided free resources for the upcoming school year.
“Each year, you get a fresh start, and that’s what I love about teaching,” said Amy Stenger. She brings several decades of experience to Omaha Public Schools after retiring from another district. “You get to try it again, do it even better, learn and move on. I really enjoy that part of the profession.”
Stenger attended the welcome center event and is one of approximately 130 new teachers joining Omaha Public Schools for the 2022-2023 school year. Click the image below to see a video highlighting this year's event.
We’re Hiring: Join Us for Upcoming Interview Fairs
As Omaha Public Schools thoughtfully plans for the 2022-23 school year, we continue to hire for all open positions.

Every job opportunity in our district supports educating young people. In addition to serving students, Omaha Public Schools employees are eligible for excellent benefits, jobs close to home, and opportunities ranging from classroom instruction to building maintenance.
Our next summer interview fair is on July 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Benson High School. Those interested in joining our team will have access to application assistance and on-site interviews for support staff roles. Additional hiring events are scheduled for August.

To view our current openings and apply for a position with Omaha Public Schools, visit our careers page at www.ops.org.
Omaha Public Schools Honored at Nebraska Career and Technical Education Conference

Two Omaha Public Schools staff members and one district school received recognition at the Excellence in Career and Technical Education (CTE) Awards sponsored by the Nebraska Department of Education.

Chief Academic Officer Susan Christopherson received the Outstanding CTE Administrator Award. This award honors an administrator who has demonstrated visionary leadership in fostering innovation and growth of Career and Technical Education in Nebraska locally or regionally.

King Science & Technology Middle received the Outstanding Middle School CTE Program Award, which recognizes the achievement of career and technical education programs that demonstrate student achievement and innovation.

North High mathematics and engineering teacher Robert Hjelle was recognized as an Outstanding Educator in Skilled and Technical Sciences.

A team of Nebraska Department of Education Career and Technical Education specialists selected award recipients from candidates across the state. Read more about these honors in District Announcements.

July STEM Learning

Julie Sigmon, Omaha STEM Ecosystem Director
Summer is now in full swing. Beat the heat this Summer with one of these STEM programs. Search our comprehensive catalog for current and upcoming offerings for students, educators, and professionals. Here are some of our top picks for July.

  • STEM Summer Retreat: Spreetail is offering students in grades 7-12 free, interactive, full-day, hands-on workshops in technology careers. Careers include software engineers, data science, IT & cybersecurity, and product managers. This program is offered free by Spreetail. 
  • Kid Coders: Finches on Parade: Create your very own parade of Finch robots by using high-tech sensors with Do Space. You will get to design your own float and learn to code your bot. This program is offered free by Do Space. To register for these opportunities or to find more STEM programs, visit the STEM Community Platform Portal. 

To register for these opportunities or to find more STEM programs, visit the STEM Community Platform Portal.
… to Sarah Czaplewski and Kara Rief of Liberty Elementary for receiving the 2022 Susie Landow Excellence in Teaching Award from the Omaha Public Schools Foundation.

… to our elementary students for logging nearly 1.3 million minutes of reading so far in our Summer Reading Challenge.

… to all who took part in the opening celebrations at Omaha Public Schools’ new high schools, Buena Vista and Westview, as our district prepares to welcome staff, students and families in August.
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Omaha Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy), marital status, sexual orientation, disability, age, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression, citizenship status, veteran status, political affiliation or economic status in its programs, activities and employment and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following individual has been designated to accept allegations regarding non-discrimination policies: Superintendent of Schools, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (531) 299-9822. The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Director for the Office of Equity and Diversity, 3215 Cuming St, Omaha, NE 68131 (531) 299-0307.